A Norwegian county court in Vestfold won’t go along with prosecutors’ request to jail two Norwegians charged in the global crime fighting operation known as Trojan Shield. It resulted in coordinated mass arrests all over the world earlier this week on charges of everything from drug dealing to money laundering.
While thousands of alleged criminals who unwittingly used a communications platform set up by the US’ FBI were arrested worldwide, only nine arrests have been confirmed in Norway so far. Newspaper VG reported that two suspects charged by police in Tønsberg were ordered released from custody because of the methods used by police in what amounted to an international sting operation.
Their defense attorney Tollef Skobba praised the court for “daring to evaluate the case in principle” and not “dancing to the pipe of Interpol.” He wouldn’t comment on the court’s concrete objections, claiming that many of the details of the Trojan Shield operation have been branded as confidential. It involved police from Washington to Australia and in between, but some Norwegian attorneys suggest it also has involved illegal entrapment. Norway’s national crime-fighting unit Kripos insists evidence has been gathered legally.
“The court ruled that information we have received from the FBI (about those arrested) can’t be used as a foundation for charges against those arrested,” police inspector Odd Skei Korstveit told state broadcaster NRK. “We disagree. If we have to release them, it will be a challenge for the ongoing investigation.”